In one of our earlier blog posts about the ‘Top 6 most important developments in e-commerce in 2020’ we list what the most important developments from a consumer behavior perspective were in 2020. But how did consumers shop in specific product categories? And particularly in Fashion, the biggest online product category of all? How satisfied are consumers with merchants’ performance and how did that develop over time? And more importantly, what is the current state of Fashion Shoppers’ satisfaction with merchants’ performance? To answer all these questions, we will discuss overall e-commerce development and development of the product categories over 2020 and dive into Fashion Shoppers’ (current) satisfaction levels afterwards. Keep reading!
In previous blog posts about the general development of e-commerce purchases, we see that purchases peak in 2020 at the end of Q4, during peak season. Particularly the peak season sales in November and December generated a massive increase in online purchases. As expected, we then see online purchase growth slowing down in January and stabilizing in February.
The most important driver behind the peak in online purchases in Q4 – and the driver behind the slowing down in January – is a shift in products and services that consumers buy. Purchases in Entertainment and Toys peaked in November/December. This is almost certainly the result of Christmas gift shopping and consumers spending more time at home due to the holidays, hence they have a larger need to be entertained. Following peak season, we see that Fashion/ Cosmetics, Food and Home purchases primarily drive e-commerce in the Netherlands, Germany and Norway in January and February.
Dutch consumers increase purchases in the Entertainment categories (Media/Electronics and Sports/Craft/Play) during peak season and over Christmas. But we see that share decrease significantly in January. In particular, we see that Toys purchases decrease dramatically in the Netherlands, from 16% of Dutch consumers having made at least one online Toys purchase in December to 8% having done so in February. Another category that reaches a high in peak season, but reduces significantly afterwards is Media (Books, Movies, Games, Music), from 16% of online shoppers in December to 11% in February. Categories in the Netherlands that continue to attract consumers to online channels in February Fashion/Cosmetics, are Household/Home Improvement and Food/Health Products.
Fashion/Cosmetics is the largest online product category: between 30-35% of consumers make at least one monthly purchase in Fashion/Cosmetics. As a result this category forms the expectations of online shoppers in general. This is why we zoom into how Fashion/Cosmetics Shoppers’ satisfaction with merchants develops over time.
In April/May 2020 (the pandemic’s ‘first wave’ and a subsequent peak in online purchases), online Fashion/Cosmetics Shoppers in the Netherlands are particularly dissatisfied with merchants’ ability to deliver products on time. By September, the relative customer satisfaction returns to normal. As the online Fashion/Cosmetics Shopper base and purchase volumes grow through the autumn and into peak season, we see consumers’ satisfaction with delivery time reduce, but not as much as in April/May - a remarkable improvement by merchants. Fashion/Cosmetics Shoppers’ lower expectations of fast delivery times during peak season can also impact these numbers. But this effect is likely small when taking the difference in satisfaction levels between the two moments into consideration. Moving further along and into 2021, we see that Dutch online Fashion/Cosmetics Shoppers grow less satisfied with product availability as well as price.
We will be back with a forecast for April soon. Stay tuned!